My CEOs for Cities “cluster” has tackled a few big projects. This week will be a very big one.
On Tuesday we are hosting an event as part of a 51 city tour that CEOs for Cities is organizing to talk about The Talent Dividend. We’ve asked leaders to attend who cover a broad spectrum of interests from architects to university heads. What they have in common is their deep commitment to the city of Pittsburgh. We need them to seize the opportunity that this city dividend offers.
City Dividends is the latest research to come out of CEOs for Cities and quantifies some very real opportunities for cities. They calculate the monetary gain top metro areas would enjoy if they were to increase their college attainment by one percentage point (The Talent Dividend), reduce vehicle miles travelled by one mile per person per day (The Green Dividend) and reduce the number of people in poverty by one percentage point (The Opportunity Dividend). According to CEOs for Cities, Pittsburgh would see an additional $1.8 billion pumped into its economy annually simply by accomplishing The Talent Dividend.
That’s a lot of money. There’s a lot we could do with it.
We have a history here of losing a lot. Jobs lost, people leaving and a city reduced in size to half is the story that is most often told about Pittsburgh. We have also accomplished a remarkable amount. Just last week the Economist ranked Pittsburgh the most livable city in the U.S.
Still, there is more to do. Our workforce is not as skilled as it could be. Our population is far less diverse than other cities. We don’t have enough high school graduates who go on to college. This leaves us at a great competitive disadvantage. We must have all of these things in place in order to compete for new business. Ultimately this will allow our city to be reborn.
A one percent increase in college attainment is a very big goal, too big for any one person to tackle. As I review the enormous range of talent, experience and background assembling on Tuesday I wonder whether perhaps together they can do what no one of them can do alone.